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Boosting Marine Conservation: Project Dolphin Takes Center Stage

In a significant move to safeguard marine mammals within the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, the state government has unveiled “Project Dolphin.” The initiative comes in response to reports of various dolphin species washing ashore, highlighting the vulnerability of cetaceans along the Indian coast. Species like Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins and Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoises, among others, face anthropogenic pressures exacerbated by climate change.

Supriya Sahu, Forest Secretary, emphasized the urgency of monitoring and conserving these species, especially after recent classifications of Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins as endangered and Indo-Pacific Finless Porpoises as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The Gulf of Mannar, renowned for its biodiversity with over 4,223 species, is now a focal point for habitat protection and cetacean conservation.

The project encompasses multifaceted strategies, including habitat preservation through ecological restoration, rescue and release protocols for stranded cetaceans, removal of ghost nets, and reduction of coastal pollution. Initiatives like ‘Dolphin Day’ celebrations, scholarships for students, eco-tourism promotion, and community involvement aim to raise awareness and contribute to the well-being of these marine species.

As climate change impacts become increasingly evident, Project Dolphin stands as a crucial endeavor to balance conservation and human activities, setting the stage for a sustainable future in marine ecosystems.

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